Author Topic: Varian Corviri - Facilis Descensus Averno  (Read 1014 times)

Legion XXI

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Varian Corviri - Facilis Descensus Averno
« on: March 29, 2014, 05:33:20 AM »
[Written in Darkoneese]
Quote
March 29, 769 BC

   My journey to Dementlieu was delayed for a time.  Funds ran short just as I was to make the final length of the journey.  Thankfully, I was able to convince a traveler into allowing me to accompany him to the famed 'Enlightened' city of Port-a-Lucine at no cost to myself.  I conversed with the man for a time, and soon found myself joining him in the viewing of an art showcase of sorts.  The pieces themselves were of little interest to me, aside from one.  As luck would have it, the very man who allowed me transport to the city was the one who created the work of art in question.  It was a painting steeped in imagery of what I originally assumed to be a manifestation of Death, heralding the Hour of Ascension.  It appeared that he was trying to illustrate some kind of strange temptation, in which we bring the hour ever-closer through our destructive choices.  But in the end, I was mistaken.  This man's focus was that of the Mists, and temptations that they offer.  After listening to him explain the work at length, I can only assume that he is either the most educated, or least sane man that was present at the gallery.  Perhaps both.  Either way, I intend to follow up with him on his short speech, as he may contain useful information for my own studies.  Most of my stay in the fair city was less than noteworthy, though I saw no less than seven or eight individuals publicly display Arcane talents.  Worse, a woman at the Gallery arrived dressed as some kind of storybook witch costume (complete with wooden stick-staff) and was not even there as an advertisement for some upcoming novella or play.  I am to understand that it is her normal attire, based on her interactions with others who knew her.  There were various individuals casting spells openly at the art viewing, and I feared my view of those present would plummet to irreparable depths if I did not take my leave.  I departed form the Gallery, and on my way out I was accosted by a woman for "Wearing too much blue", and she demanded I replace it with pink, arguing that it was a new fashion.  I can only surmise that I am being targeted for my foreign appearance and dress, despite attempts to conform and blend in.  I did my best to avoid further attention, and spent a good deal of the next day in the Grand Library.  I read through the night, taking a vast collection of notes on topics that could aid me in my studies.  While I had the materials at hand, I also read the Library's notes on The Requiem and Necropolis.  While not immediately useful to my current studies, it provided interesting insight into the events of Darkon's recent history.  I decided that I would apply for a position at the library, to perhaps further my studies by mingling with the scholars and students who come and go.  I was, however, immediately refused a position with no evaluation whatsoever on the apparent grounds that I did not look capable of understanding the systems they had in place.  I have never been so insulted in all my career, and in a rare moment of embarrassingly unprofessional anger, I stormed out of the building and back to the Vistani wagon.

  Losing no time, I made by way back through the network of caravan travel and found myself in Vallaki, Barovia.  It was my hope that the local superstitions and large adventurer population would lend to my cause, and I was not disappointed.  Shortly after arrival, I took refuge in a guarded temple dedicated to the deity "Morninglord".  A woman burst through the door, wounded and carrying on about a Lycanthrope running rampant inside the city walls during the night.  I discovered that this woman was from a land called Faerun - a land she claims is far beyond the mists.  I offered to treat her wounds in exchange for her account of how she arrived in this land.  It was an interesting tale, and has convinced me to seek more accounts from other new arrivals.  In addition, she seems to be interested in the nature of how she arrived in this land, and wishes to join me in my study of the surrounding areas.  I expect that her traveling experience and combat expertise will be invaluable in examining the local mistway and other oddities, and so I bid her a swift recovery while I returned to Houlgrave's bookstore to plan our upcoming jaunts into the Barovian countryside.  I think that upon daybreak tomorrow, we will be quite ready to embark and continue our studies.  I have only been here a day, and already feel more accomplished than a month of schooling in Nartok ever made me feel.  This is the true path to the Arcana I seek.  I am on the trail of things not often taught in universities or schools.  Greater things.  Hidden things.   As I embark on this journey, I can not help but find myself a bit nervous.  What will I find?  Will I return intact?  Not much is certain for my coming days, but it is truly the first time I have felt so alive.  As the candles dim and flicker out one by one, I prepare my pack and eat the last of my food.  I am going to need results of some kind if I wish to eat tomorrow night.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 08:17:05 PM by Legion XXI »

Legion XXI

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Re: Varian Corviri - Facilis Descensus Averno
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2014, 10:01:28 PM »
[Written in Darkoneese]
Quote
April 6, 769 BC

   The freedom that this backwater land brings has lent itself wonderfully to my cause.  I find that I can operate quite comfortably without many taking note of my actions, and the local garrison does not meddle in affairs beyond the walls.  Likewise, I make sure to maintain a healthy distance from patrols.  The standards of Barovian 'Justice' leave a bit to be desired, but such was to be expected.  The local population of adventurers are an interesting bunch, all too willing to lend their aid to Vigil at the mention of treasure.  They remain surprisingly unbothered by his obnoxious bastardization of the trade tongue or his detestable appearance.  I do not take much for myself in these agreements for I can simply search for abandoned trinkets on my own if I am in need of funds.  For now, the purpose of these expeditions remains to search for useful talent and connections among the local adventurers, and to keep an eye on the goods passing through so that I can move on objects of interest when they reveal themselves.  I plan to try and locate the woman from the library again soon, and inquire on the texts she is said to be holding.  Additionally, I should work toward establishing a connection with suppliers of exotics that pass through this city. 

   I think it may be high time to reveal my identity to the brothers I have been studying for some time.  Based on Vigil's account of their disposition and abilities, I have concluded that these men are exactly the kind of mercenaries I am looking for.  They are a bit untrained, but that means they will work for cheap.  I have yet to decide what I shall do with them if they fail and find themselves impaled on a dead man's blade.  I am loathe to allocate resources to bringing them back, but I detest the idea of sharing my studies with additional individuals to replace the fallen ones.  Time will tell, perhaps they will shape up.  I decided to table my original idea of employing Caliban for the brute work, as I am unsure how trustworthy such individuals would be in the long-term. 

   Also, I should note that I located a curious set of armor that appears to be a gatekeeper of some kind.  It is capable of speech, though only within certain paramaters.  I was unable to discern much more from my study, but will attempt to delve into the history and legend surrounding this particular anomaly and what it hides. 

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Re: Varian Corviri - Facilis Descensus Averno
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 05:16:12 AM »
[Written in Darkoneese]

Quote
April 11, 769 BC

  I regretfully record the loss of two companions today, who were slain in my most recent expedition to Har'Akir.  We had undertaken a journey into the sands, in search of riches for the mercenaries and knowledge of historical significance for myself.  I sought to test the legends and tales of these Amber Wastes, emboldened by my recent successes in Barovia.  I had originally believed there to be some merit to the stories I have heard, but did not expect us to meet such harsh resistance from the ancient servants that reside within the wasteland's temples.

   We fought our way through the desert by nightfall to circumvent the trouble of dealing with the fury of the sands by day.  Upon reaching a decrepit and ancient structure, the decision was made to enter.  Upon our first tentative venture into the temple, we managed to fight our way down a few passageways.  Almost immediately, we were rewarded.  I stumbled upon a text in (partially) readable condition, in which it referred to the once-great structure as the "Temple of Harvest".  It would seem that it was something of a hub for local religion and other ceremonial activities, if I am to interpret it correctly.  When the healing salves began to run dry and the enchantments begin to come with more and more difficulty, we made the difficult choice to abandon our endeavor until more aid could be rallied.  Put simply - we had survived thus far by an uncomfortably large degree of luck.

   It was at this time that from the depths of the Temple, a singular undead approached us.  The very floor shook with his arrival, and the rest of the undead seemed to have vacated as he drew near.  He referred to us as interlopers, and negotiations proceeded less than ideally due to our obvious and likely unforgivably insulting invasion of his resting place.  When it became clear that there was no way out barring use of force, my two companions engaged the mummy in close combat.  He proved quite resilient, however, and did not fall as easy as the others.  One by one, he dispatched my companions with Necromancy spells, and I was forced to flee and leave their bodies to whatever fate awaited them.

  I fled out into the sands just at dusk and made my way back to Muhar.  Having lost some of my possessions (coinpouch among them) in fleeing the Temple, I did not have the coin to travel back to the Vistani encampment within the mists.  I record these events from the Inn in Muhar, and am currently making plans to venture into the desert by day in order to procure food.  I passed a number of lizards and serpents on my way back.  I intend to capture and cook a few specimens, and then toss some into a local slave pen under cover of invisibility.  I will then observe the slave who digests the meat, and should be willing to eat for myself by day's end.  This is not ideal, but without coin my options will be limited.  Hopefully soon I can lend my services to a passing band of adventurers in return for safe passage back to the Camp.

Vigil has been tasked with replacing my lost companions, and will dedicate his time to evaluating possible candidates.

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Re: Varian Corviri - Facilis Descensus Averno
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2014, 01:06:39 PM »
[Written in Darkoneese]

Quote
September 01, 769 BC

   In the months past since the failed expedition into the ruin designated "Harvest", I have made adjustments to my methods.  In matters of arcane or otherwise exotic studies, the presence of others engaged in . . . less than scholarly pursuits is not recommended.  Mercenaries and Sellswords should only be employed if there is no other method of reaching the destination and conducting field study.  For the time, I have experienced a great deal of success in travelling the sands alone, using careful tactics and illusory aids to pass through without disturbing the residents of the sands.  When engagement is necessary, it should be noted that the undead tend to congregate in groups, perhaps defensive formations of a sort designed to break around and encircle opponents who engage at melee range.  This lends well to a strategy of ranged arcane attack, however, and so far the most effective strategy for dealing with these obstacles has been the use of flames in a 6-7 meter radius of the central targets.  Their movements are slow and shuffling, and a prudent Arcanist would do well to speed his movements to further widen his advantage of mobility.  The undead here, like many places, carry all manner of disease and illness, and physical contact without appropriate safety measures is highly discouraged.  Upon studies of the remains, the bodies appear to have undergone a fairly standard mummification process.


   Once I was confident that it was relatively safe to resume my studies, I again sought out the ruins of the temple Harvest.  The following is a sketch of the temple, as seen from a dune about 70 meters from the entrance.  Of particular note about the exterior of this location is the slope in the direct front-center of the structure.  It leads up on top of the stone structure, and directly to a stone figure holding a stone basin.  What this is used for is not immediately clear, but it is my suspicion that perhaps the locals offered sacrifices to the deity or other official who oversaw the "Harvest".


   



Of other note, I discovered a spire in the deserts referred to the South-East of Muhar, and North of Harvest.  Inside this spire was a small room, centered around a stone carving or idol of some significance.  There were depictions and carvings along the walls, but I was unable to discern what any of it was about.  For future reference, I included a depiction of the idol from the immediate front, and it's housing spire from a dune about 40 meters away.




Anotherr noteworthy thing I've located in the wasteland surrounding Muhar is the entryway to a subterranean structure.  I am unsure if this is the only entrance, or if the structure was always intended to be below ground, but it currently resides beneath the sands and it was only through careful searching that I located the hidden trapdoor leading to a stairway.  Further exploration is currently not possible, as the undead that inhabit this structure are quite a bit stronger, and of a kind that I've not yet encountered.  The extreme close quarters and twisting pathways of this temple do not lend well to the tactics employed in Harvest, it is likely I will need a team to explore this location.



In the wasteland to the West of Muhar, I ran across what is perhaps the most peculiar of all my recent discoveries.  I found a ship (Roughly 25 meters in length) that appears to have run aground.  The obvious question, then, is how such a vessel ran aground in one of the most desolate lands of the Core.  Upon inspection of the vessel, it appears that the wreckage of the ship is still impaled upon the very rock that it ran upon in its final moments as a seafaring vessel.  I'm unsure just how ancient this vessel is, and the wood is significantly weathered and worn from exposure to the harsh local environment.  Still, this is quite a wonder in itself.  What is such a thing doing here, so far from where it belongs?  Was perhaps this land really once a flourishing countryside?  If so, what causes such a drastic change in climate?  I feel that my best chances still lie below the sands, hoping to come across some texts or imagery that has remained preserved.



I feel as if the answers I seek are only an arm's reach away.  Now all that remains is to figure out in which direction to grasp.
Etiam capillus unus habet umbram.


Legion XXI

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Re: Varian Corviri - Facilis Descensus Averno
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2016, 03:34:40 PM »
(bumping so it doesn't get deleted, still working on this)